China: ‘Another audience watching’ drills says expert

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Tees Valley Lithium (TVL), Europe’s largest independent and sustainable lithium hydroxide producer, has signed an agreement with Weardale Lithium (WL) to establish an integrated lithium supply chain in North East England. Under this new deal, the two firms will work together to create a battery-supply chain industrial hub, which will also include “the evaluation of the potential for WL to supply lithium to TVL for refining.”

This is a major step for the UK’s EV industry, as Lithium is an element that is an essential component in making efficient batteries.

According to experts, China is the most dominant player in the lithium industry, having major investments in many parts of the lithium mining and production supply chains.

China’s influence over lithium and other critical metals has led to growing concerns that if conflicts arise between Beijing and the West, particularly surrounding the sovereignty of Taiwan, China could squeeze these supplies, crippling the EV industry for the rest of the world.

As a result, Britain is looking to rapidly phase out its overreliance on China, amidst fears of ending up in the same situation as Europe is in with Russia.

Weardale Lithium is looking to boost the UK’s automotive industry by developing a secure and domestic supply of lithium from naturally occurring geothermal brines.

Stewart Dickson, CEO of Weardale Lithium, said: “Weardale Lithium has the objective to become a UK supplier of lithium from geothermal brines.

“Our partnership with Tees Valley Lithium is another important step in developing an integrated and coherent supply of lithium in North East England.

“This builds on the region’s existing strengths in electrification, automotive and advanced manufacturing and enhances the North East’s position at the forefront of electrification technologies.

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“Local supply of high-value critical minerals products should support the development of the electrification revolution for years to come, generating highly skilled science, technology and engineering opportunities and at the same time, reducing the environmental impacts and supply risks of imported raw materials.

“This is potentially win-win for both companies and the North East”.

John Walker, CEO of Tees Valley Lithium said: “Tees Valley Lithium is in the process of establishing a world-class Lithium Hydroxide production at the Wilton International Chemicals Park, located in the Teesside Freeport, in order to supply the burgeoning demand from Gigafactories in the UK and Europe.

“TVL will bring high value intermediate lithium products with a low carbon footprint from around the world, and provide customers in the UK and Europe with an independent and sustainable supply of battery-grade Lithium Hydroxide and Lithium Carbonate.

“We are pleased to be bringing back high value manufacturing to the North East and securing the critical minerals for the UK’s journey to Net Zero.”

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